We all know Steven Soderbergh has a penchant for working fast, but who knew he could assemble a film that stars Meryl Streep, Dianne Wiest, and Candice Bergen that finished principal photography in two weeks?
In the film, the lead actors all play longtime friends who reconvene on an ocean liner. It's a dialogue-driven movie that relies heavily on improvisation.
I guess it's fitting that the title of the movie will be Let Them All Talk.
The cast recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly to give them the details of the new movie.
The movie is based on a Deborah Eisenberg short story, and she actually got screenwriting credit here as well.
Though the dialogue was mostly improv, Eisenberg was there to help them work out specific scenes.
“She was always there. She was there all the time, and she was so generous, and you could ask her anything,” Wiest said. “She would tell you what might come up next, and remind you, because we shot in sequence, which was another incredible gift that Steven gave.”
That sounds like an awesome collaboration—really freeing for everyone involved.
Just read how Streep improved one crucial scene!
“One night, the next day I was supposed to be giving a lecture, and the auditorium was going to be filled with real people,” said Streep, who plays an acclaimed novelist accepting a prestigious award in the movie. “And there was no lecture in the script! I said, ‘Well, what is she gonna say about this author from another century?’ And so overnight, [Eisenberg] produced this enormous bunch of ideas, and a biography. It was a very rich kind of bible from which to draw. But it was terrifying every night, because you just had to get ready and think [of], you know, what you’re gonna say.”
It's definitely an interesting approach.
Streep told Entertainment Weekly, “I told [Soderbergh] he was gonna ruin everything for every director, and every production designer, and everything else, because he made the movie for 25 cents—I know that’s what I was paid. Then it was made in two weeks, and it was a free ride on the boat.”
Bergen appreciated the approach.
"I think [Soderbergh]’s the most fearless filmmaker, and his intellect is so piercing," she said. "He was doing the camerawork, so you sort of watched his brain right behind the camera, spinning like a top. It was really interesting. And short.”
So how do you make a movie like this?
Streep said, “I mean, they would give us the outlines of a situation, and then we knew where we had to end up. But they didn’t tell us how to get there.”
Aside from securing the boat and getting actors to work for very little, which can happen when you are famous and they are also famous, you need to really pare things down to only the essentials.
As Wiest told EW, "The only equipment was sound equipment. Steven held the camera in a wheelchair and just rolled along. None of the lights, and the trucks, all that stuff that goes into making movies, there’s none of it. There was Steven and this new camera."
This sort of guerrilla filmmaking seems to go perfect with Soderbergh, who shot the horror Unsane on an iPhone and did the same with High Flying Bird.
I can't wait to see what he has in store for us this time. Let Them All Talk is set to launch on HBO Max in December.
Let us know what you think in the comments.